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All About Portugal | July 25, 2014

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Sao Bento train station - All About Portugal

Sao Bento train station
Clara Campos

Sao Bento train station, in Oporto, is famed for its tiles on its front hall. It was distinguished as the most beautiful train station in the world in 2011.

Sao Bento train station is one of the ex-libris of the Oporto city. It stands proudly in the heart of the city, just around the corner of Avenida dos Aliados, the city’s most important avenue toped by Oporto’s municipality building.

São Bento train station tiles

Travel & Leisure considered São Bento train station the most beautiful train station in the world in August 2011 not just for the exterior beauty of the building but mostly due to its front hall. It is there one may find the remarkable set of tiles that took 11 years for Jorge Colaço, a painter specialised in designing and painting azulejo panels, to complete.

Sao Bento train station tiles

Photo by mcertou

The impressive 20, azulejo tin-glazed ceramic tiles depict several historical events, such as King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster by Oporto’s cathedral in 1387, the meeting of the knight Egas Moniz and Alfonso VII of León and Castile (12th century), Prince Henry the Navigator conquering Ceuta (1415) and a representation of the Battle of Arcos de Valdevez (1140), as well as the history of transportation.

Sao Bento train station history

Sao Bento train station stands on the exact site of a former Benedictine monastery from the 16th century. The monastery was named Convent of Sao Bento de Avé-Maria, hence the name of the train station.

Sao Bento train station was built due to the need of having a train station close to the city’s center. Until its construction Campanhã was Oporto’s main train station.

The project of Sao Bento train station is many times wrongly attributed to Eiffel, probably due to the French Renaissance touch it presents. However the real author of the work was architect José Marques da Silva, born in Oporto.

The first train arrived on November 7th 1896. Yet, the by then existing facilities couldn’t cope with the huge traffic flow. Therefore the initial project suffered changes and the construction of a definitive train station begun in the first years of the 20th century. On October 5th 1916 the final Sao Bento train station was officially inaugurated.

Since then several recovery works have been carried out in order to preserve the majestic of Sao Bento train station, one of the most iconic spots of Oporto city, thus a commendatory stop for all visitors.

Where is São Bento train station?

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São Bento Train Station 41.145667, -8.609590 São Bento StationSao Bento train station, in Oporto, is famed for its tiles on its front hall. It was distinguished as the most beautiful train station in the world in 2011.
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